Friday, May 31, 2013

Do Division! And do other things too!

It's finally here, the first really big street festival of the season, and just down the way from Ray's Bucktown Bed and Breakfast at that!  Do Division has some of the best early-summer street food, plenty of vendors and trinkets, and not to mention some pretty good music.

Here at Ray's we have a few favorite Festival bands, and while not everybody we like will be making an appearance you do have neighborhood staples Subterranean and Empty Bottle organizing the lineup so we doubt you will be disappointed.

While you are groovin' check out some of the vendors.  Above is last year's booth for Fair Earth - a small business focused on high quality, eco-minded, fair trade jewelry, accessories, and randomly delightful artifacts. If you have the chance stop in and chat, a few employees did a photo shoot with her last summer and she is quite an inspiration.  If you also want to know who else will be there, what to nosh on and drink, etc check out the event's facebook page for more info.

Since the weather is finally pretty solidly nice for the next few days it would be a great time to take advantage of all the architectural tours and river cruises the city has to offer, our favorite is the longstanding standard, put on by the Architecture Foundation of Chicago.

Not feeling the outdoorsy spirit?  Here's a list of even more cool stuff going on this week - indie short film festival, fashion events, and more!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May Festivals - Installment 1

May 2013 festivals

American Beer Classic - Here at Ray's Bucktown B&B we like beer.  ok, we love beer.  Although we definitely cannot claim to be knowledgeable of the subtlety of brews, this festival looks like a blast. On Saturday, May 11th, over 10,000 beer lovers will congregate at Soldier Field to appreciate local and major breweries in the Midwest.  What would a day of beer drinking be without a little competition?  You can vote on your favorite on the event's iphone app.  Our manager is pulling for a personal favorite brewery - Dogfish Head.

The 29th annual Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival is coming up on May 25th-26th. This is generally considered the "kickoff" for summer street festivals here, and if this weather continues on it's course we can hope for a balmy 65 degrees!...if we're lucky.

Some of the best local bands and musicians in the midwest will be there and the full lineup can be found here. Arts, crafts and fashion will all be featured at this outdoor event.  It's located right off the belmont Red/Brown/Purple line stop, or you can take the Damen bus north from Ray's and then hop on the Eastbound Belmont bus.

If you aren't looking to be tied down to what's going on on one particular weekend, then throughout the entire month of May, the Chicago Blues Festival takes place in Chicago - click here to see a link of the upcoming blues performers at the Randolph Cafe and other locations.  With acts spread out over several events and venues it's pretty easy to find something that fits your taste.

There is plenty more going on this month don't worry!  But seeing as we here at Ray's are both breakfast cooks and blogging gurus we must continue later.  Here's to not having another 45 degree day for a while!

we hope.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spotlight on Roscoe Village

Here at Ray's Bucktown B&B we are very proud of our neighborhood, but to ignore others in this "city of neighborhoods "would probably be in bad taste.  So in an effort to acknowledge some other aspects of Chicago's neighborhood landscape we have chosen to spotlight the great Roscoe Village.

Roscoe Village is a neighborhood just a bit north of us and boasts some great summer street festivals, restaurants, shops, and boutiques - it's also very family friendly and is a great way to wile away an
afternoon with the wee ones.  Here are some of our favorite spots!

Kitsch'n on Roscoe - if you're still hungry for breakfast after a morning at Ray's this is a great place to check out. This weekend they are hosting a Tacos, Cerveza, and Tequila event, and you can find details here.  With a focus on comfort food, and tounge-in-cheek 70's decor it is a spot after our own hearts!  They boast a beer garden, award-winning breakfast/brunch fare (they were on Rachael Ray's $40 a day) and truly unique, laid-back atmosphere.  Located at 2005 W Roscoe, just a quick trip up Damen Avenue from Ray's B&B.

photo curtesy of Yelp
If you're in more of a mood to shop than nosh on hangover food, then Roscoe's got some options.  If you're a local, or happen to travel on vacation with a moving truck in tow, check out Praha.  They just moved to the neighborhood from a nearby location and offer some really eclectic, moderately priced, colorful and unique items. Lamps, decor, furniture, knick knacks, and a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Located at 2201 W Belmont Ave.

Shangri-La Vintage is consistently voted one of the best spots for it's specific niche market, and boasts some of the best real vintage finds.  It's no Salvation Army thrift store, and you can always find something from a handbag to a period outfit.  Of course, being of the hipster nature, they do not have a website that we know of.  But you can see their front door from Kitsch'n on Roscoe.  Located at 1952 W Roscoe.

If you've got kids, no worries, the tykes can have their own fun.  Hamlin Park has a more than decent playground setup, and even a pool for those 2 months that Chicago gets unbearable hot instead of bitterly cold.  After a jaunt around the park you can always take the exhausted kiddos to Black Dog Gelato to refuel their sugar tanks.  For the adults, try the Whisky spike variety to help you through a hot afternoon with the little darlings. 1955 W Belmont.  Formerly located only in Ukranian Village.  If you want some info on the new location check here.

All said and done Roscoe Village is a prime spot for wandering around on a nice day.  It's full of boutiques, shops, and has one of the best wine and liquor stores around in case you want to hit up a byob restaurant.  Of course be sure to check out their summer festivals as well, the most popular being August's Retro on Roscoe Festival.